15 October 2018

Best vacation trip ever. Maybe the best one possible.

The brochure above arrived in my mail this week, because I've been a National Geographic subscriber.  This is what they are offering:

Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the world, and the process became available to the wealthy in the 19th century.  Nowadays such trips are routinely offered by travel agencies.

But this one is different.  Note the destinations:

This is not a trip to New York, Hong Kong, Paris, London etc for shopping.  For those reading this on a phone and unable to decipher the small fonts of the embeds, here are the destinations:
Machu Piccu
Easter Island
Samoa, Polynesia
The Great Barrier Reef for snorkeling
Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom
the Taj Mahal
the Serengeti Plain
Petra and Wadi Rum
Any ONE of those would for me be the trip of a lifetime.  In addition, you are accompanied on your trip by a National Geographic photographer and a marine biologist, art historian, or anthropologist and archaeologist etc, who will give in-flight lectures on relevant topics - when you are not eating a meal prepared by the expedition chef (using local dishes and served with fine wines):

Travel is in a small(ish) private jet.  Accommodations are in hand-picked small lodges, not big hotels, and entertainment (Rapa Nui dancers, Andean weavers, Bedouin dinners etc) is provided.  And there is an expedition physician traveling with the group.  Of course.

It does cost a lot -

- almost as much as having a medical procedure in an American hospital without insurance.

So it's out of my range by about two log powers, but it still fascinates me.  This is how the 1% live, expending this much for a three-week trip.  Or perhaps charging it to a corporate account to be blended in with other line items.

I guess what I'm jealous of most is the lack of hassles for these travelers.  I can certainly fly somewhere for a vacation, but on arrival I have to rent a car, drive myself through traffic, stay in a big hotel, find a place to eat and so on.  To be catered to like this is an entire different way of life.

But those destinations...


  1. Yeah, a trip that contributes to climate change to be impressed with the results of climate change.

    NatGeo is a fantastic magazine, but their commercial activities quite often directly ignore all the advocate for in their magazine.

  2. As you say, a fascinating departure from the cliché of a shopping holiday. What strikes me is the insulation you’re buying. These people won’t have any locals “bothering” them or causing “inconvenience”. They’ll get the sanitized travel brochure version of each location.

    My wife and I spent two weeks in Peru last year, not 3 weeks to “visit the world”, and could have used another 2 weeks to feel like we had met the place a little. This type of highlight trip where India is reduced to the Taj Mahal, Peru is Machu Picchu, and every where is the NatGeo cover photo sounds awful to me.

    Don’t get me wrong though, offer me a private 3 week stay in Cambodia and I’m in. Or better yet, private around the world in a year with lots of time in each country.

    1. My half-sister did a "Semester at Sea" and visited many countries on a worldwide cruise with her soon-to-be husband. She fancies herself a "global citizen" now, even theming her wedding around their travels.

      What I remember is her stopping in Hong Kong and spending a full day at Hong Kong Disneyland, even though she grew up in Anaheim.

      While, sure, comparison may provide some insight, I would have to imagine there were better avenues into Hong Kong culture than Disneyland.

  3. This would be the trip of a lifetime! I've been lucky enough to see Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat already and Marrakech is planned for January '19. We did go through the whole process on our own and I believe that is part of the adventure. Take time to live with the locals, eat their food, see what they have to go through on a daily basis.

    Simply getting off the plane and being driven straight to the site would take so much away from the whole experience.

  4. rant incoming, beware.
    most of this can be done with just regular airlines. I did Auckland - Samoa - Tonga - Auckland - Tahiti - Mangareva (check it out on google maps!) - Tahiti - Easter Island - Santiago de Chile - Lima - Bogota - Miami - Dallas a couple of years ago, and that was maybe 6000 dollars and one trip and three emails to the travel agency. The 'hard' flight was the one to Easter Island, where they claimed you needed to book long in advance, but when I was actually flying, the plane was two thirds empty.
    I did not go to Cuzco or Machu Piccu because a) it was and is severely overrun with tourists and b) I got Dengue Fever, either in Tahiti or Easter Island. None of this Nat Geo trip is really out of the world, Petra probably being the hardest since you are fairly close to an actual warzone in Syria.
    This might seem weird, but for your well-traveled (regular, non-rich) German, all (as in going to every single one, not any one) the destinations from the trip are quite possible. There's a dude in my wife's English course that has been to about 100 countries, including stuff like an overland trip in Inner Mongolia, and he works as a customs agent in the port here.
    My parents are teachers. We didn't have fancy clothes, and only one TV and one car for six people, but we would have at least one big holiday trip every year. By the time I was 18, I had been to the States (four weeks up the whole west coast in a RV), Israel, Tunisia, Australia (three times) and pretty much every single country in Europe.
    I know several people that lead super-international lives, my brother completely filled his passport with visas and stamps within a couple of years. Another couple lives in London, close to Venice and partially Beirut, and now goes to Japan for six months to better learn the language. Modern Homo Europeicus is very mobile :).

  5. One way I know the planet is cooked is seeing this kind of stuff offered and the way it's perceived as normal/acceptable/desirable by 99.9% of people. Or equally so in some other iteration. There are a thousand other ways, i.e., the fact that we now consume more meat per capita than at any other time in our history. Expect rapid climate change. Vertebrate life (that's us too) will be gone in less than fifty years. Perhaps much less.

    1. I don't think that the message is that this is normal. I think the price tag indicates that this isn't normal, and the high price tag also prevents it from being normal.

      As for desirable.... Well lots of things are desirable, but unattainable.

  6. Have been to six of the ten destinations on offer. Some when I was young and some older. Never on a tour where you interact 99% of the time with your fellow travelers. And believe me this pampered group will NOT want to interact with the unwashed locals. The entertainment for the most part is for the tourists and kind of phoney. Travel yourself or as a couple, save your money, and relish your own experiences, good and not so good.

  7. "...on arrival I have to rent a car, drive myself through traffic, stay in a big hotel, find a place to eat and so on. To be catered to like this is an entire different way of life."

    I bet any hostel in the developing world would be delighted to receive an email from you asking them to set you up with a room, car and driver, and dinner recommendations for [date span]. Labor is so cheap in the poor world that the cost of (car+driver) asymptotically approaches that of (car).

  8. The perfect vacation to effectively isolate oneself from where you choose to go!

  9. I got this in the mail about 3 weeks ago... it went straight into the recycling bin.

  10. I am currently on a 6 month trip now which has included two of those destinations in Cambodia and Nepal. I have yet to meet a traveller who has hired their own car. Things are so cheap you can have all these experiences organised for you easily, and living off a backpackers wage of saving up from money working as a waitress in Australia, no private jets in site (I feel guilty enough about ny carbon footprint flying regular planes). And at this pace i have spent time in every country Ive been to, found interesting non touristy places and got to know the local culture.

  11. i live next to what was the great barrier reef. nearly 50% of the reef is dead and the rest will be gone in less than a decade. so maybe get here real quick.

  12. The Mega Millions jackpot is $900,000,000 for Saturday's drawing - after taxes and time value of money, maybe 420,000,000 net. Also, most of the rich people I've met are completely nice and down to earth happy to talk to janitors. None of them would spend $176,000 on a vacation.

  13. Isn't this how plane crash and/or Atlantis movies start?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...